Industry sector: Leisure

Entertainer: Cash sales


'Cash sales' means all income from your main business activity which is received at the time of sale. In other words, immediately or shortly after your performance - or before it. Cash sales include payments by cheque, debit and credit card (if you have the facility to accept them), and alternative methods like PayPal as well as cash.

To prepare your cash flow, you need to estimate how much income you will receive over the next 12 months, (including VAT if appropriate). To do this you will need to work out how many bookings you will get, how much you will be paid and when you will receive the money.

There are a number of things to consider when you make your estimates:

Type of act

It's likely that you have already developed an act that maximises your talents, whatever they may be. While there are many different types of act to choose from, what they all generally have in common is that the better known you become, the more bookings you'll get and the more you'll be able to charge.

You may want to consider:

  • whether you will use the services of an agent to help you get bookings
  • whether you will join an entertainers union, such as Equity
  • how far you are prepared to travel to bookings
  • whether you will need anyone to help you, for example with setting up your equipment or to take part in a performance
  • whether you will supplement your income from live performances with TV and film work (perhaps as an extra)

Competition

It is well worth finding out as much as you can about the local competition. While it is not necessarily a barrier to success if there are a lot of acts similar to yours in your area (it can prove that there is a strong level of demand) it may mean that breaking into the market will take longer. You may find that for the first few weeks - or even months - when you're building your own reputation you'll struggle to get bookings.

You may wish to carry out some market research before launching your career so you can confirm that your act is appropriate to your target customers. Carrying out some research can help you with this - for example, you could put on some test performances for family and friends or take part in 'open mic' events.

Pricing

You will have to decide what you are going to charge. You may find that in the early days you will have to charge less than you want to, simply to gain experience of performing in front of an audience and to build your reputation among prospective clients. Check out what other similar entertainers in your area charge (try looking online or contacting them for a quote). Ultimately, you will want to be able to cover your overheads and living expenses and also make some profit.

Customer profile

Your customers (the people who book you) - and the venues they represent - may also vary widely. Typical venues to perform in are pubs, clubs and theatres, as well as private functions in a variety of locations which may include weddings, birthday parties and so on, depending on the nature of your act.

To help with your decisions, click on the checkpoints for guidance. Once you have worked out a Cash sales figure add it to the relevant field in your cash flow forecast.